Industry News

MLS narrows down search for expansion franchises

North America’s Major League Soccer (MLS) has revealed a shortlist of just four cities that will compete to secure two expansion slots in the competition.

Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento will make formal presentations to MLS commissioner Don Garber and the MLS Expansion Committee at a meeting in New York on December 6.

The league is expected to make a final decision on the cities that will take on an expansion franchise before the end of the year.

Speaking in a statement, Garber said: “The leaders of the Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento MLS expansion ownership groups have bold visions and innovative plans for their clubs, stadiums and their involvement in their respective communities.

“We are pleased these highly-respected business and sports leaders have been so determined to bring Major League Soccer to their cities. We have been greatly encouraged by the progress that all four of these groups have made and we are looking forward to their presentations.”

The expansion process had attracted interest from a number of other cities, with Charlotte, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa/St Petersburg having all put forward initial bids in January.

However, despite missing out on this round, the MLS said that each of the cities remain under consideration for a further two expansion slots that will be made available in the near future as the MLS grows to a total of 28 teams across a number of regional divisions in North America.

Los Angeles Football Club is to become the 23rd club to enter the league in 2018 after it was able to secure an expansion slot in the last round of bidding, while the MLS is still in talks over adding a new team in Miami, with the hope of this club becoming the 24th entrant in the league.